Really ready for a terrorist attack?

Shortly after 9/11, the newly-established Department of Homeland Security developed Ready.gov, a Web site devoted to educating Americans on disaster and attack preparedness. The result, even after a recent update and overhaul, leaves a lot to be desired. So the Federation of American Scientists put together a new site, ReallyReady, highlighting not just DHS faults ...

607058_ReallyReady5.jpg
607058_ReallyReady5.jpg

Shortly after 9/11, the newly-established Department of Homeland Security developed Ready.gov, a Web site devoted to educating Americans on disaster and attack preparedness. The result, even after a recent update and overhaul, leaves a lot to be desired. So the Federation of American Scientists put together a new site, ReallyReady, highlighting not just DHS faults in advice and design (including generic advice, repetitive details, and incorrect information), but also synthesizing the information that is useful and accurate in a new easy-to-navigate, reader-friendly format.

What's even better about the whole project is that, whereas the DHS spent millions of taxpayer dollars and took five months to put the Web site into operation, the new ReallyReady site was completed in nine weeks by a 20-year-old FAS intern for the price of the site domain name.

I know it isn't good to laugh about such a serious topic, but when I saw the graphic on Ready.gov suggesting that when a nuclear bomb goes off a hundred feet away you might want to protect yourself by walking around the corner, I just couldn't help myself," said Ivan Oelrich, Vice President of Strategic Security at FAS. "After three years and millions of dollars, taxpayers should expect a better website from the Department of Homeland Security."

Shortly after 9/11, the newly-established Department of Homeland Security developed Ready.gov, a Web site devoted to educating Americans on disaster and attack preparedness. The result, even after a recent update and overhaul, leaves a lot to be desired. So the Federation of American Scientists put together a new site, ReallyReady, highlighting not just DHS faults in advice and design (including generic advice, repetitive details, and incorrect information), but also synthesizing the information that is useful and accurate in a new easy-to-navigate, reader-friendly format.

What’s even better about the whole project is that, whereas the DHS spent millions of taxpayer dollars and took five months to put the Web site into operation, the new ReallyReady site was completed in nine weeks by a 20-year-old FAS intern for the price of the site domain name.

I know it isn’t good to laugh about such a serious topic, but when I saw the graphic on Ready.gov suggesting that when a nuclear bomb goes off a hundred feet away you might want to protect yourself by walking around the corner, I just couldn’t help myself,” said Ivan Oelrich, Vice President of Strategic Security at FAS. “After three years and millions of dollars, taxpayers should expect a better website from the Department of Homeland Security.”

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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